Hmm, well that would explain a lot...

Posted by Bar Camel on February 11, 2002

In Reply to: Camels make bad barstaff posted by The Fallen on February 11, 2002

: : : : : : The last post got me to thinking... How did Cockney Londoners above all other Londoners come to be so poetic? There's the ryhyming slang or course and terms like clock and peculiar things like calling everyone "Jon", "Alright Jon?"

: : : : : : I'm sure there must be historical reasons. I'm currently reading An Autobiography of London by Peter Ackroyd. My only surmise is that the fact that the East End is a very old part of London - but is there anything more to it than that?

: : : : : I was under the impression that rhyming slang arose, as with many other types of argot, as a deliberate means of communicating with one's fellow locals, whilst excluding outsiders who might be present at the same time, presumably to gain some kind of advantage. So, effectively a type of "thieves' cant" - not that I'm suggesting that inhabitants of the East End of London are uniformly vliiainous. I'm sure that somewhere there must be a few saintly souls... :)

: : : : They are really hard to understand anyway. In another life, Word Camel worked in an East End pub where she outraged the regulars by serving them bizarre mixtures of lime and stout because that's what it sounded like they were saying. (Even after they repeated it slowly) ;)

: : : 1. What WERE they saying?
: : : 2. There are other examples of poverty-stricken or otherwise totem-pole-bottom groups developing their own slang, even creating something close to an art form out of language, one of the few materials available to them.

: : They said " 'ere wightnwimefinningepp, please." or slowly " wight-n-wime-finning-epp".

: : I seem to recall they wanted a mix of a stout or dark ale and a lighter lager. I probably confused it with a shandy. A remarkable number of people ordered shandies, a mix if lager and sickly sweet lime. To me they always tasted like a lime flavoured popsicle gone horribly wrong. But they were very popular with both men and women, though it's thought of mainly as something women order.

: Hmmm. I can't decipher the "wight-n-wime-finning-epp" at all - I always thought that the drint required was called a "light & bitter". HOWEVER, for the absolute record, a shandy is definitively NOT a mix of lager with lime cordial - that's (unimaginatively enough) a lager and lime. A shandy is an approximately 50/50 mix of beer (either lager or more usually bitter) and lemonade. This is not to be confused with a "top", which is a near full pint of beer with just the last half inch "topped off" with lemondade. I have also seen some Brits debase themselves by ordering a "lager and black" - lager mixed with blackcurrant syrup. Any of the above concoctions would be deeply frowned upon by anyone with the slightest degree of bar cred.

And might in some small way account for the fact that the publican in my notorious pub, a fellow called Terry, who had "love' and 'hate' tatooed on his knuckles, absconded to Spain with all the money in the pub, leaving his wife baby. By coincidence he drank the black current drink described above and played "Bare Footing" on the Jukebox at least three times and hour.


Ps Lemon or lime, Shandies are still yucky.